An Interns Retrospect


Upon entering this internship I had few expectations, except that I felt horribly underqualified for the position. I knew very little about African art, and even less about appraisals. Fortunately, I found that approaching each task with enthusiasm was enough as John was excellent in providing instructions. In retrospect, my time here at Shango has diversified my interest in varying types of art, deepened my understanding of art valuation and appraisal, and given me a more holistic approach to viewing art both within the market and in nonprofit institutions. After learning some of the methodology of art authentication by listening to John, I can no longer go to a museum without considering what types of tests a particular work of art had to endure in order to be accepted as part of the collection. Similarly, when I read about a notable object to be featured in an upcoming auction I wonder about the security of its provenance and how this affects the overall price. Lastly, after writing numerous object description for the Shango database I am now able to perceived an object apart from it’s function as a statue or headdress, and instead I can see it as a compilation of form, tension, and rhythmic design. After interning for the past eight months, I have learned more from listening to John explain the art market and museum system that I ever could in a structured class. Furthermore, our numerous excursions to various art-related institutions including the Kimbel, Art Restoration, Heritage Auctions, and even private collections made the learning experience very tangible. I can confidently say that I will continue to use the knowledge and experience I have gained while working at Shango in my future career in the arts.